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Ash Wednesday (1973)

Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark,... See full summary »


Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Sawyer
Keith Baxter ...
Maurice Teynac ...
Doctor Lambert
Kate Sawyer
German Woman
Henning Schlüter ...
Bridge Player
Dino Mele ...
Kathy Van Lypps ...
Dina Sassoli ...
Nurse Ilse
Carlo Puri ...
Andrea Esterhazy ...
Comte d'Arnoud
Jill Pratt ...
Irina Wassilchikoff ...
Silvano del Campo


Barbara gets secret plastic surgery in Switzerland in an attempt to save her marriage to Mark, but he doesn't seem interested in meeting her. She checks in to a ski resort to wait for Mark, and begins getting attention from young men. Her daughter tries to warn her that even though she has had the surgery it might be too late for her marriage, but she clings to the hope that Mark will come back once he sees her new look. Meanwhile, she must decide whether or not have an affair with a young man she's met. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Surgery took years off her face. But can it save her marriage? See more »


Drama | Mystery


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Rivalin  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Contains footage from actual facelift operations, which repulsed many viewers when it was originally released. See more »


The Nearness of You
Written by Ned Washington (as Washington) and Hoagy Carmichael (as Carmichael)
Performed by Jerry Wright
See more »

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User Reviews

No spoilers here!!!
3 October 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I lost track of this film after they pulled Elizabeth Taylor's face off, so I can't possibly divulge any plot points. (Okay, so it wasn't Elizabeth getting her face torn off, but it was somebody and it was SICK.)

The whole point to this film, as I understood it, was that Elizabeth Taylor's character Barbara is a superficial women who thinks everyone else is superficial also. Her marriage is on the rocks, so she automatically assumes she's getting ugly. Appearance isn't everything, Barbara dear. She is understandably shocked when her husband lets her in on that fact. He doesn't care if she looks like a troll named Brunhilde (which is how she starts off the film)--he just doesn't love her anymore. I thought he was a real twit, as he acts as if he couldn't care less about her and never did.

I get aggravated when Elizabeth Taylor's face is the centerpiece of a movie. The woman can act, but I have yet to meet anyone who realizes that. Movies like this mirror her real life to me. She has to look beautiful, and if she doesn't, she isn't a whole person. She doesn't function properly. (Small wonder she's had so many personal problems. Being a beautiful goddess all the time has to be difficult.) To me, Barbara Sawyer is a bit like Elizabeth Taylor. Her face seems to be her fortune, and she gets quite distressed if something happens to it. It seems unfortunate that Barbara (and possibly Ms. Taylor) place so much store by looking good. "My husband's leaving me. I'm not surprised, my hair looked awful today." That sounds unreal, but that is how Barbara acts. Even more unfortunate is how my whole review here is based on how she looks. Now I'm doing it. It just makes for a very pathetic individual, and maybe Barbara is supposed to be.

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